Roseburn cycleway plan protesters deliver 2600-strong petition

Roseburn residents Judy Probert and Sahin Katil gather with other protesters at City Chambers. Picture: Greg Macvean

Roseburn residents Judy Probert and Sahin Katil gather with other protesters at City Chambers. Picture: Greg Macvean

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A LEADING pedestrian campaign group has criticised key aspects of a planned £9 million cycle route linking the east and west of the city.

Proposals being considered by the council could see a cycleway put in place between Roseburn and Leith Walk, plugging a crucial gap in the Capital’s cycle network.

But Living Streets Edinburgh said it had “big concerns” over plans for “floating bus stops” on a widened pavement between the cycle path and the road, as well as being “strongly opposed” to the creation of a segregated cycleway on the north side of Princes Street.

While welcoming the “large majority” of the route, they said they had “serious concerns regarding a short section of segregated cycle route along the north side of Roseburn Terrace” – arguing cyclists should instead be routed via Roseburn Place.

The group’s comments – highlighting the impact on walkers’ safety and convenience – come as business owners and residents gathered outside the City Chambers yesterday to protest against the plans.

Around 40 placard-carrying campaigners handed Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, a 2600-strong petition against the proposed cycleway.

During speeches given in the chambers’ courtyard following the handover, they accused the council of “declaring war on the car” and insisted the changes would create a dangerous bottleneck of traffic on one of Edinburgh’s busiest roads.

Peter Gregson, who is leading the charge, said council cash would be better spent on potholes and improving dangerous junctions.

Opposition to the cycleway plan, which was recently put out to consultation, is focused on a half-a-mile stretch from Roseburn to Haymarket and the proposed reduction in lanes at parts of the main road around Roseburn Terrace.

Protesters have also condemned the removal of the westbound peak-hour bus lane, and insist taking away loading bays and parking could spell financial disaster for surrounding shops.

But supporters of the cycleway – who also handed in an 817-strong petition to the council yesterday – say it will boost cycling, make roads safer, improve the street environment and even benefit businesses.

Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Throughout our consultation we have welcomed comments from all members of the community on proposals for the cycleway between Leith Walk and Roseburn, which would provide a quality accessible, off-road route for less confident cyclists.

“We received petitions from campaigners both in favour and against our proposals, and it is now our intention to consider both along with all other consultation feedback.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com